Dr. Jeremy Ringewald, pediatric cardiologist, spends most days at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital caring for kids who were born with congenital heart defects. As a husband and father of three, he finds it rewarding to help give other parents the gift of time with their children.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a dad?
I really enjoy watching my kids grow and discover new things. It’s so rewarding to see them get excited about new discoveries and life in general, and I adore being a big part of it.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
I really enjoy being a part of our family’s everyday activities, like helping with homework and preparing dinner. Just being there for my family – actually being there – is so wonderful.
What is the most challenging part of fatherhood?
Like most fathers, it’s finding a balance between work and family responsibility. I love my job and fixing the hearts of children who were born with life-threatening conditions is beyond rewarding. Ultimately, my family is the most important thing in my life, and it can really be a struggle to find an acceptable balance between work and home. But I’m definitely up for the challenge and keep trying to find that right combination.
What role model in your life influenced the kind of father you are?
My dad and my father-in-law have both had a big impact on me. My dad also was a physician and, even though he got swallowed up in his work at times, he did his best to be there for his kids. He introduced me to my love of medicine and helped me understand that it is a calling. My father-in-law is a great example of how to make the most of anything that comes your way. He always puts the needs of others first, especially his family, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a father, how do you view your responsibilities?
I never assume that when I get home from work that it’s time for me to relax. For me, that’s when it’s time to fully engage with my family. This is my time to be present 100% in our family life.
What advice would you give other fathers?
Strive to find a balance, don’t sweat the small stuff and always assume that your wife is right (because let’s face it, she probably is). Make sure your family knows how much you love them. Appreciate your wife. I couldn’t do what she does for our family as well as she does it, and I imagine it’s the same for most families.
What is something people don’t know about you?
When I have free time, I enjoy reading about U.S. and European history and economics. I played trumpet in my high school’s marching and jazz bands, and one of my favorite childhood memories is when we were invited to march in Walt Disney World’s Electrical Light Parade.
What is your biggest fear?
I have a big fear of letting someone down. It pushes me to do my best for those who need me so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What makes you happy?
The simple things in life, like having a good meal with my family, a nice wine, close friends and going to Mass. And no doubt, it’s an amazing feeling to be able to tell parents that you fixed their child’s heart. I also participate in a medical mission trip to Jamaica each year. I feel really blessed to be able to help so many children who would otherwise not receive the medical care they need.
Where is your favorite place to go in Tampa?
We love to fish. One of our favorite places to do this is at the St. Petersburg Pier. We also enjoy spending time at Pass-a-Grille beach, watching the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field and playing at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.